Fourth Quarter Intermodal Volumes Tumble 2021 Still Ends on a Positive Note

March 2022

CALVERTON, MD…  Total intermodal volumes fell 9.8 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s Intermodal Quarterly report. All market segments showed declines: international containers at 16.2 percent; trailers, 10.9 percent; and domestic shipments, 2.4 percent. However, intermodal traffic rose, in total, 3.6 percent for the year.

 “Although Q4 volumes were down, intermodal loads grew during 2021, albeit at a much slower rate than the previous year,” said Joni Casey, president and CEO of IANA. “Performance continues to be affected by the virus, as well as network congestion and the intermittent scarcity of equipment and labor.”

 The seven highest-density trade corridors, which collectively handled more than 60 percent of total volume, were all down in the fourth quarter. The Trans-Canada corridor, with a 21.0 percent deficit, led the losses, followed by the South Central-Southwest, Midwest-Southwest and Intra-Southeast at 14.7 percent, 13.3 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively. The Southeast-Southwest dropped 9.9 percent; the Northeast-Midwest fell 3.8 percent, and the Midwest-Northwest held losses to 1.4 percent.

 Total IMC volume rose 8.1 percent year-over-year in Q4, with intermodal down 7.3 percent and highway loads up 18.1 percent.

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